Fat & Faithful

So I typically try to steer away from controversial topics, but when I saw this valuable article on my daily Skimm, it got my attention. Probably just like the title of this post got your attention!

Before you read this summary on the Fat Stigma provided by the Skimm, bare with me as I dive a little deeper into this topic. Or read the linked article and come back here. Whatever your preference . . . Just while I’ve also verified that the experts quoted in this linked piece are the ‘real deal’, I REALLY want you to hear the Truth about our bodies as well.

Let me pose a few related questions:

  1. In your life, have you ever felt there was a link between one’s percent body fat and one’s faithfulness? Or what about a link between your physical health and your holiness?
  2. How often has self-control and discipline been a topic of study and thus a trigger for conviction and shame?
  3. If body shame is not your deal, have you ever thought about your body pride?
  4. Even though we know not to ‘judge a book by its cover’ and ‘Jesus looks at the heart’, does someone’s physical body influence your view of them? Maybe even results in you judging them unfairly?
  5. Do you find yourself defining beauty and health based upon what you see on social media, shows, and magazine covers? Or deeper yet, can you say your conversations about beauty and health with other women are God-honoring?
  6. Have you ever wondered what God thinks about our weight, clothing size, BMI, food habits, calories burned/consumed, fitness routines, etc? Or more importantly, how He views health and holiness?
  7. Do you know your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?

In all honesty, I can answer YES to all of these questions! What about you?

I approach this topic in prayerful humility because I’m on His journey of health and holiness myself. I’ve struggled with shame and pride about my body. I’ve judged and have been judged. I’ve put too much value on fat percentage and less value on evidence of faithfulness. And I’m tired of pursuing the world’s view of health and beauty and just want to pursue our good and holy God. But it’s all a struggle!

I’d also like to note that while we women can REALLY relate with all this, I’m learning more and more how much men struggle with body image and the fat stigma as well. Yes, it’s not the same, but it’s there. I’ve recently seen push-up shirts for men. Yes, you read that right. And sadly, men also struggle with eating disorders and such as well. I just have to laugh as other guys give my hubby a hard time about his defined and large chest. Partly laughing because our kids ask why Daddy’s chest is bigger than Mommy’s, but mostly laughing because my husband’s physique is courtesy of genetics. He takes good care of himself, but I live with the man, and his chest size is not his focus! Also, when you read this article that was the catalyst to this post, his BMI is closer to obese than those of you who know him would think! ūüėČ

On a heavier note, can we just feel a gut punch in acknowledging we live in a country where we have the margin to worry about the appearance of our bodies, our view of the word ‘fat’, our pantry stocked with healthy food vs treats, a debate whether a gym membership or at-home YouTube workouts fit our lifestyle better, or how our freedom-of-speech media portrays beauty? Can those of us reading this just humble ourselves enough to realize we are spoiled, and other women in the world are praying they can keep their job, won’t be seen as just a body for use, or have a roof over their head and any food at all for their kiddos? Yes, I went there, but I feel like a little perspective can only add value to this topic.

,Okay, ya’ll still with me? Let’s get back to those questions and let me attempt to provide some answers . . .

  1. In your life, have you ever felt there was a link between one’s percent body fat and one’s faithfulness? Or what about a link between your physical health and your holiness?
    • So here’s my question . . . did His Word teach you this or did your childhood church or social media or family or what? Because like me, you’ve had to dig deep and ask yourself that question about the ‘fat stigma’. I’ve had to think back and realize that my beliefs about fat and body image and all can’t be validated by scripture. Because when I go to His Word, I find stuff like this . . .
    • For we are God‚Äôs handiwork,¬†created¬†in Christ Jesus to do good works,¬†which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
    • Therefore, I urge you,¬†brothers and sisters, in view of God‚Äôs mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,¬†holy and pleasing to God‚ÄĒthis is your true and proper worship.¬†Do not conform¬†to the pattern of this world,¬†but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.¬†Then you will be able to test and approve what God‚Äôs will is‚ÄĒhis good, pleasing¬†and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2
  2. How often has self-control and discipline been a topic of study and thus a trigger for conviction and shame?
    • But the fruit¬†of the Spirit is love,¬†joy, peace,¬†forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,¬†gentleness and self-control.¬†Against such things there is no law.¬†Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh¬†with its passions and desires.¬†Since we live by the Spirit,¬†let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25
    • For the¬†Spirit¬†God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
    • I recently listened to a Revelation Wellness podcast about the Fruit of the Spirit. It talked about how there is purpose in the order of lists such as what’s described in Galatians 5. So when is comes to either scripture bulleted above, self-discipline follows ALL that other good stuff. So start at the beginning and seek His Spirit, His love, His joy, His peace, His power. Keep your focus there . . . the discipline is a fruit, not a goal.
    • Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Psalm 34:5
  3. If body shame is not your deal, have you ever thought about your body pride?
    • For by the grace given me¬†I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. Romans 12:3
    • So if you consider yourself healthy, be careful. Stay humble. Pursue holiness. Seek grace. Love others. Don’t hold onto the false sense of control and pride . . . it’s fleeting!
  4. Even though we know not to ‘judge a book by its cover’ and ‘Jesus looks at the heart’, does someone’s physical body influence your view of them? Maybe even results in you judging them unfairly?
    • When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‚ÄúLet any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone¬†at her.‚ÄĚ John 8:7
    • There’s really no need to add to this scripture in this content. I’ll just leave it there.
  5. Do you find yourself defining beauty and health based upon what you see on social media, shows, and magazine covers? Or worse yet, can you say your conversations about beauty and health with other women are God-honoring?
    • Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the¬†Lord¬†is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
    • PSA – We ALL are aging! No one is perfect! So let’s show love, grace, and humility to all those around us. Someone got fake eye lashes – okay, how’s her heart doing? Someone put on 15 lbs – okay, how’s her heart doing? Someone ‘looks great!’ – okay, how’s her heart doing? A young girl feels good in her new outfit – okay, how’s her heart doing?
  6. Have you ever wondered what God thinks about our weight, clothing size, BMI, food habits, calories burned/consumed, fitness routines, etc? Or more importantly, how He views health and holiness?
    • Before providing scripture, let me follow this question with a discussion about control and comfort. Typically when we speak of eating, exercise, and first impressions, we fall into two categories: CONTROL or COMFORT. Control could look like counting calories, following a fitness plan, weighing our bodies obsessively, having pride in our self-discipline, and judging those ‘who just can’t seem to take care of themselves’. Comfort could look like turning to food, exercise (or lack of), feeling shame when we look at ourselves, and not liking those ‘who just seem to have it all together.’ Regardless the camp you’re currently in or have been in in the past, I was to pose the same question Jenn Connelly posed in her book – ‘Why?’ and then the follow up to your answer is ‘Really?!’ I’m smart enough to not give examples here as I don’t know your story nor your struggles, but just want you to ask yourself some questions about your healthy habits, answer honestly, and then ask yourself ‘Really?!’ We all know the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but he easily attacks our reasoning and justifications for our behaviors. And Jesus came to give us abundant life. So let’s just be still in that for a bit . . . Now let’s get back to His Word because pretty sure we serve a GOD OF CONTROL AND COMFORT! Pretty cool, huh? So I’ll just provide the scripture and pray His Spirit explains the rest.
    • Wait¬†for the¬†Lord; be strong¬†and take hear; ¬†and wait for the¬†Lord. Psalm 27:14. BECAUSE HE’S IN CONTROL . . .
    • Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,¬†the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 2 Corinthians 1:3
    • ‚ÄúAnd why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.¬†Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor¬†was dressed like one of these.¬†¬†If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you‚ÄĒyou of little faith?¬†So do not worry, saying, ‚ÄėWhat shall we eat?‚Äô or ‚ÄėWhat shall we drink?‚Äô or ‚ÄėWhat shall we wear?‚Äô¬†For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.¬†But seek first his kingdom¬†and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.¬†Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:28-34
    • Then Jesus said to his disciples:¬†‚ÄúTherefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Luke 12:22
    • She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25
  7. Do you know your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?
    • I totally get this is gonna sound churchy. But just stick with me, okay? So there was the Old Testament Temple, right? The Holy of Holies. Such a sacred, special place where one deemed worthy could connect with God. Then in the New Testament, there was the Temple where people studied and worshipped, right? Then Jesus died of the cross . . . for You . . . for US all . . . and the curtain TORE in the Temple. The curtain in the Temple was the barrier between people and God. So Christ’s death tore the curtain, symbolizing the removal of any barrier between us and God. Then in the book of Acts, it describes the Holy Spirit coming upon people. The scriptures below connect the dots as well as:
    • Old Testament Temple -> New Testament Temple -> Jesus Tears Curtain -> Spirit enters us as believers -> Our bodies are now temples.
    • Do you not know that your bodies are temples¬†of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 1 Corinthians 6:19
    • If anyone destroys God‚Äôs temple, God will destroy that person; for God‚Äôs temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:17
    • So let me expand further . . . throughout scripture we found evidence of the holiness and value of the Temple. Such a special and cool place, right? So after Jesus gave His life, died for us, rose again, ascended to Heaven, and gave us His spirit, why do we struggle to view our own bodies as such a special and cool place? Just think on that . . .
    • If we truly grasped the holiness and power of the Spirit within our bodies, wouldn’t we just want to honor Him, surrender our bodies, worship with our bodies, and take care of our bodies in response. And just let the Spirit guide how we care for and use our bodies for His glory. Not to mention my favorite questions these days is ‘what if fitness was just a way to get God’s breath in your lungs?’

As with all things Holy Barre related, I pray the Lord lights a fire in your soul. A consuming fire in your temple. A holy blaze upon your heart. As you move your body, you feel His power and presence. As you take care of your body, you seek the Spirit’s guidance and grace. As you confront the patterns of this world, you look up, Child. Love God. Love yourself. Love others. Love big. May the Lord clear your mind, calm your soul, fill your heart, and strengthen your body, as we burn bright, better together!

As you can tell, that initial article lit a fire in my soul to expand upon its valuable information and share what the Lord says about it all. There’s plenty of worldly info available to us – let’s focus on His truth! May He ignite a fire in your soul to burn bright!

Thanks for reading . . .if you haven’t yet, now go read the Skimm’s article I linked above. And if you really want to dive in deeper to this whole topic and what health and holiness looks like for you, join me for our upcoming Wellness Revelation group. Click here to learn more! Or just join us for any of these upcoming opportunities with Holy Barre. We’re better together, burning bright!

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